Newest Review: ... were her diary entries, but there weren't enough of them, just a couple of pages each chapter. Minus Nine to One though is all written by ... more
Cooking Up a Family?
Minus Nine to One: The Diary of an Honest Mum - Jools Oliver
Member Name: karenuk
Minus Nine to One: The Diary of an Honest Mum - Jools Oliver
Advantages: Fun, chatty, informative, some great tips, honest and chatty writing style.
Disadvantages: Some slightly bizarre choices of photos!
However, none of the books have been perfect. Some are too formal or starchy or preachy, others lack the little personal details I love and others are just too chatty with little substance. I was still on the hunt for the perfect pregnancy book. Having read Jools Oliver's Minus Nine to One - The Diary of an Honest Mum, I can say this book has come the closest to being exactly the kind of book I wanted to read.
First of all, let me explain something - I can't stand Jamie Oliver. I find him irritating beyond belief and will try to avoid any programmes he is on. Therefore, I knew very little about Jools before reading her book, only that she was his wife. I certainly wasn't a fan in any way. Having finished her book now though, while I'm certainly not going to sing Jamie's praises, I feel I know more about Jools and if we met, I'm sure she would be lovely. Besides, we could have a chat about pregnancy and babies.
That is just how this book feels - a friendly, gossipy, girlie chat with a mate. And it's brilliant, just the kind of book I was looking for! The bits I most enjoyed about Denise Van Outen's book were her diary entries, but there weren't enough of them, just a couple of pages each chapter. Minus Nine to One though is all written by Jools Oliver and you get a decent amount of content. The book is about 320 pages and of that, over 250 pages are Jools recounting her pregnancy days and her time as a mother of young daughters.
Afterwards, there are Appendices on food (perhaps unsurprisingly!) which include some recipes for toddlers, a glossary of terms used (the medical bit!), useful websites, a section on the baby equipment you will need (This is of particular interest to me at the moment, as we are buying stuff!), good places to buy baby clothes and a list of books Jools has found useful.
Jools has two daughters - Poppy and Daisy - and had them very close together, giving birth to Daisy when Poppy was just thirteen months old I can relate to this as my first four children are close in age too, with the smallest gap being fourteen months between my second and third. This baby will be my fifth, but there will be almost sixteen years between my fourth and this little one!
I really enjoyed reading this book, as Jools' writing style is chatty and direct and I liked how she "tells it as it is" without any sugar-coating. Nothing is idealised; she accepts pregnancies can be worrying and stressful and that labour and birth is usually painful. I found a lot I could emphathise with whilst reading this and I am sure pregnant women and mothers will find the same. I was also shocked at how the paparazzi treated Jools during her pregnancy and she seemed to handle the cameras and stalking journalists really well, but it's not the kind of added pressure you need!
The book is written chronologically and begins with the problems Jools had getting pregnant. Once she has managed to conceive, we follow her pregnancy to the birth of Poppy then continue to read about the two strands of her life - being a new mum to a baby, but also discovering she was pregnant again when Poppy was just four months old. The book ends when Daisy is eighteen months old and Poppy is 2 ½ so she explains the joys and not-quite-so-joyful bits of parenting two toddlers.
I enjoyed the book and happily read it all in order, but if you only wanted to read certain chapters, it would be easy to do, as each one is clearly labelled. The book is beautifully designed too from its pink girlie cover to its little roses dotted throughout. There are also loads of photos inside - not just the posed picture perfect portraits you expect from this kind of book, but also (and more frequently!) candid photos of Jools not looking her best. There's even a photo of her very close to the sink inbetween bouts of morning sickness! No-one could accuse this woman of being vain, that's for sure! Despite my dislike of Jamie Oliver, there are some lovely family photos in the book and it is obvious that however much of an idiot he may seem to be on television, he really loves his wife and daughters and there are some beautiful photos of them together.
There are plenty of useful practical tips in there too. Like Jools, I have been suffering from pregnancy rhinitis this time, where the increased hormones block your nose up and this makes it hard to breathe at night. I had just been coping as best I could, but Jools mentioned she had used Breathe Right nose strips during her pregnancy, so we bought some, tried them and yes, they really do work, so thanks Jools!
Every so often, there is the odd page printed in a handwritten font where Jools shares lists she made of various things. I have found these useful too. There are three pages (in tiny handwriting!) detailing how much stuff she packed in her labour bag. As this is something I am starting to organise myself, I found this useful and I know I'll have a tendency to over-pack, as Jools did. Helpfully, she has annotated on the list the items she used and the ones that turned out to be completely unnecessary. Later on in the book, she has a similar list of all she packed in Poppy's changing bag, again with notes as to which things were essential, useful and totally unnecessary.
I was really pleased with this book, as it seemed to tick every box in the list of what I wanted from this type of book. As it covers the first couple of years of bringing up a child too, I am sure I will refer to it later on as well. Although I have already had four children, it is a long time since they were babies and I'm sure I need a refresher course!
Jools Oliver's Minus Nine To One is a great read, beautifully presented, full of useful tips and information, but written in a wonderfully chatty and confiding style - all I could possibly want from this book. The RRP is £10.99 but I bought it from Amazon UK for £7.69.
Summary: An excellent book for pregnant women and mothers of youngsters.
More reviews in the field of Biography
- The Tragedy of Erskine Childers - Leonard Piper
- To the Limit - Marc Eliot
- Matt Smith - Emily Herbert
- Coming Of Age - Andy Murray
- Escape from Camp 14 - Blaine Harden
- Encore Provence - Peter Mayle
- Toujours Provence - Peter Mayle
- A Year in Provence - Peter Mayle
- Foggy - Carl Fogarty
- Mister God, This Is Anna